So you’ve just gotten to UCSD, you’re all set for classes, and you know that you really want to get involved, but you don’t know where to start. This article is for all the Black students to help get you connected with the Black community on UCSD’s campus. I can relate to feeling like you don’t belong because you can’t find a welcoming community with people you can relate to. It’s definitely hard to put yourself out there, but let me tell you that when you do, you won’t regret it! The Black organizations on this campus are looking for students like you who want to make friends and get involved in some way. With that being said, let me give y’all a rundown of some of the orgs that the Black community at UCSD has to offer.
To begin, we have the Black Student Union or BSU. The BSU was founded in 1967 as an organization to highlight the various political, social, and academic issues that Black students, staff, and faculty face both on and off campus. I would say that the BSU is the core of the Black community at UCSD as our events and general body meetings tend to involve other organizations in order to uplift the needs of the entire community. Our general body meetings are every Monday from 6:30-8pm. Some of our upcoming events include Kwanzaa, which is coming up at the end of Fall Quarter, ABC or the Afrikan Black Coalition conference which will be hosted virtually by us this year and takes place during MLK weekend in Winter Quarter, and Overnight; which helps build retention of Black students coming from high school, and happens during the Spring Quarter. For more information, you can follow us on Instagram @ucsdbsu.
Next, we have NSBE which stands for the National Society of Black Engineers. NSBE was established in order to increase the number of Black engineers and STEM majors while helping them succeed both academically and professionally. NSBE holds about 3-4 general body meetings per quarter. They also host a multitude of events geared towards workplace readiness, building community, and outreaching with high school STEM students in order to get them the resources they need for attending college. In addition, NSBE hosts a space called WINSBE: Women in NSBE, specifically for Black women in STEM to help empower and support them throughout their journey at UCSD. For more information, you can also follow their Instagram @nsbeucsd.
If you’re not an undergrad, there is the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association or BGPSA. BGPSA is an organization for Black graduate students to get the help and resources they need as they endure the journey of grad school at UCSD. Their general body meetings, called Homey Hours, happens every Thursday at 6:30pm. This is a social space for Black graduate students to unpack the week. Their other events include Townhalls which is a great way to get plugged in on various opportunities. For more information, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow their Instagram @ucsdbgpsa.
The Black Resource Center is another great space which helps foster community. The center has an on-campus kitchenette, a conference room, a computer lab which offers limited printing privileges to all students, and a prayer/study room for a comforting space. There is also the Cross Cultural Center which is an open space for all students. They work to empower, challenge, and value the diversity on UCSD’s campus as they provide multiple services from workshops to socials within their many community spaces. To shoutout a few more helpful resource centers, there is the Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American Programs and Services or APIMEDA, the Intertribal Resource Center, the LGBT Resource Center, the Raza Resource Centro, and the Women’s Center. All of these resource centers are open to all students and provide support as they are safe spaces to connect people with different backgrounds. It is important to mention that as Black students and people in general, we are not monolithic. We all have intersectional identities which are unique to each of us. Embrace that as a UCSD student because that’s what makes you who you are.
At UCSD, you also have the option to get involved with the different collectives they offer. A collective is like a club where students, staff, and faculty can come together to hold meaningful, yet fun conversations with one another. The Black Women’s Collective meets every Thursday, on even weeks, from 5-6:30pm. The Black Men’s Collective meets bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings, during odd weeks, from 5-7pm. The Black Queer Collective is a space to develop community among the Black queer folx at UCSD. The Black Geek’s Collective is a community of students, staff, and faculty who identify as Black geeks and discuss different perspectives and ideas at the BRC.
Now that you know about different organizations, resources, and collectives to help with your first steps in getting involved at UCSD, I feel as though I must highlight some of the amazing businesses within the community. We have a Black beauty supply store on campus, a financial resource business, hair businesses, nail services, makeup services, and eyelash services. Though there are too many amazing businesses to name each one individually, I just want to say that the Black community at UCSD is doing remarkable things both collectively and individually. On that note, I should point out that there are many other Black student organizations out there and the ones I’ve mentioned will help connect you to people who can help you get involved with them. For instance, we also have Black Campus Ministries, the Afrikan Student Association, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., the Ujima Network, and many others.
So if you are new to campus or you haven’t found the right organization or club to get involved in as a Black student, hopefully you are able to start here. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make new friends because the community will always be here to welcome you with open arms. Until next time.
Peace fam, come back when more sauce is spilled!
Kiyahna Brown is the Assistant Arts and Culture Editor and creator of The Sauce: a new Black column within The Triton. You can follow her on Instagram @Kitkat12600